***Action Express Racing claimed its second Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring victory following its 2019 win that also included Pipo Derani. It marked Cadillac’s third consecutive 12H Sebring win following previous triumphs by JDC-Miller Motorsports (2021) and Chip Ganassi Racing (2022).
***The Brazilian became a four-time race winner, joining the likes of Allan McNish and Frank Biela, and now only trails Tom Kristensen (six) and Dindo Capello (five) in overall wins in the Florida endurance classic.
***Derani revealed that the No. 31 Cadillac V-Series.R, which he shared top honors with Alexander Sims and Jack Aitken, did not go through its full allocation of Michelins, as the decision was made to double stint tires on Aitken’s final stop.
***He said: “We had an extra set of tires but we decided at the very end to gain track position on the last restart so Jack continued on his tires. Unfortunately we didn’t quite have the pace to keep the cars behind but luck played on our side today.”
***GTP competitors were limited to 11 sets of tires in the race, which led to most teams double-stinting in the early stages of the race to ensure they could complete the closing stages on fresh rubber during each stop.
***All eight GTP class entries led the race at one point, with the No. 01 CGR Cadillac (120 laps) and No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura ARX-06 (115 laps) the two highest lap leaders.
***While only three of the cars took the checkered flag, none of the retirements were due to MGU or battery-related issues. The three LMDh cars that took part in Friday’s 1000 Miles of Sebring FIA World Endurance Championship race also had trouble-free runs with the spec hybrid units.
***Nearly one-third of the ran behind the safety car, with a total of 12 full course cautions totaling 3 hours and 50 minutes.
***Derani and new-for-2023 full season co-driver Sims have taken over the GTP championship lead, ten points ahead of WTR Andretti’s Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque, with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Renger van der Zande and Sebastien Bourdais a further 60 points behind in third.
***All four LMDh manufacturers have now scored GTP class podium finishes, with the No. 25 BMW M Hybrid V8 coming home second and the No. 6 Penske Porsche 963 having been classified third in class and ninth overall. “Sebring can be a crazy race – and we saw that tonight,” said BMW M Team RLL team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “I am really proud of the team, the steps we have made since Daytona have been obvious.”
***The No. 6 Porsche fought back from a left-rear puncture in Hour 4 after Nick Tandy had contact with the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22, which was followed by a bizarre incident where the Englishman was engulfed with smoke inside the cockpit, requiring an unscheduled stop.
***In an even stranger incident, Dane Cameron was rear-ended by the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P320 Nissan of Robert Mau while under a safety car period in the eighth hour. It was one of at least three incidents for WeatherTech Championship debutant Mau, including a spin that collected the eventual race-winning No. 31 Action Express Cadillac of Derani in Hour 3.
***Penske’s No. 7 Porsche, meanwhile, lost ground in the fifth hour when Michael Christensen pitted to fix an issue with the kinematics on the right corner, followed by a drive-through penalty for Felipe Nasr due to working outside of the pit box in the final-hour pit stop.
***Porsche Penske managing director Jonathan Diuguid said: “Obviously it was a long day for the team. I think we fought back a lot of adversity and we had some operational things we need to clean up. But the team came back from two laps down and both cars were fighting for the podium there at the end.”
***Tower Motorsports became the first LMP2 class entrant to record an top-three overall finish in the race since 2012, when the Starworks Motorsport trio of Stephane Sarrazin, Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolocchio scored an outright podium in their Acura ARX-03b, behind a pair of Audi R18s in the inaugural WEC round that ran as a joint race with the American Le Mans Series.
***In an ironic twist, the vestiges of the Peter Baron-owned Starworks operation is now Tower Motorsports, run by Ricky Capone since 2021. Baron, meanwhile, was a part of the overall winning crew on Saturday, serving as a driver performance engineer for Action Express.
***WeatherTech Racing’s Jules Gounon and Dani Juncadella, who finished third in GTD Pro on Saturday, have maintained their championship lead, although it’s been reduced to 26 points to the second-placed Vasser Sullivan duo of Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat, who continued their podium streak with a runner-up finish in their No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3.
***Madison Snow was tasked to bring the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 to the checkered flag, with the GTD class-winning entry having battled brake issues.
***Snow’s co-driver Bryan Sellers said: “It seems like we had some pad transfer issues. That might have been the issue, that at some point in the race, we either had a chuck of pad transfer or we had just a high spot in a rotor that wore unevenly.”
***The Paul Miller BMW completed the final 1 hour and 48 minutes of the race on a single tank of fuel, although interrupted by four full course cautions during that period. Similarly, the GTD Pro class-winning No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R went a staggering 1 hour and 52 minutes on fuel.
***Pfaff’s GTD Pro win gave Porsche its 101st class victory at Sebring. It came after the team worked until midnight on Saturday morning rebuilding the car following Klaus Bachler’s accident in qualifying.
***Kellymoss with Riley scored a surprise podium finish in GTD, with the No. 91 Porsche of Alec Udell, David Brule and Julien Andlauer, which came from two laps down and also stretched its fuel at the end, although not to the extremes of Paul Miller.
***The Heart of Racing’s challenge for the GTD class win ended in the final hour when the No. 27 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Marco Sorensen had contact from the No. 63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2, which led to suspension damage after contact with the wall. Co-driver and defending GTD champion Roman De Angelis labeled it as “pretty stupid driving” from the Lamborghini.
***Sorensen said: “There isn’t a whole lot that I could have done differently when a car just cuts across the track. It shows a little bit of lack of perspective in general in the paddock, but it is what it is now. We can’t change it.”
***The GTD pole-sitting No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR Andretti Acura NSX GT3 Evo22, which led the opening stages of the race with Kyle Marcelli at the wheel, retired in the sixth hour after contact with another GTD car shortly after a restart resulted in heavy damage to the front of car.
***Gradient Racing’s Acura persevered to a 12th place class finish despite being hit twice by other cars, including contact from Tandy that took off a large portion of the fender, including the right headlight, which needed repair work once it got dark. The car was also rear-ended following a restart in Hour 7, damaging the lights, bodywork and diffuser.
***With their fourth place class finish in the debut of the new McLaren 720S GT3 Evo, Inception Racing’s Brendan Iribe, Frederik Schandorff now hold a one-point lead in the GTD championship over the Paul Miller Racing duo of Sellers and Snow.
***Sportscar365 understands that Tijmen van der Helm is poised be become of JDC-Miller Motorsports’ drivers for its customer Porsche 963 effort, which is slated to debut in the fourth round of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in May. The 19-year-old Dutchman has been part of the team’s LMP3 effort in the last two races.
***Next up for the WeatherTech Championship is the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 14-15, which will see GTP, GTD Pro and GTD classes in action. LMP2 will rejoin the field for the following round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in May, with LMP3 not back in the series until the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.